Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili

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This slow cooker lentil and pumpkin chili recipe is the perfect solution for busy weeknights.

This vegetarian chili has a ton of flavor, it’s super healthy, and only takes about 10 minutes to prep. Since it’s made in a slow cooker, you can have this healthy meal ready when you get home from work or school.

Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili Recipe #healthy #easy

I don’t know what I would do without my slow cooker.

It’s been one crazy busy season and the only thing that keeps me from eating takeout every night is coming home to an already made meal waiting for me!

When the weather starts to cool down and we all start craving hearty and comforting dishes, I always look for a new chili recipe. This time around, I decided to try out a Slow Cooker Lentil And Pumpkin Chili. It’s been on my list of slow cooker recipes to try for a while now, so it was finally time!

This slow cooker chili is the perfect meal for those long fall nights. The lentils give it a meaty flavor and pumpkin really thickens things up and gives this cozy stew a subtle sweetness without being overwhelming. It’s great for dinner or lunch and gives you the energy you need to get through those last few days before Halloween (or Thanksgiving/Christmas!).

In addition to a simple, no fuss dinner this slow cooker lentil and pumpkin chili is great for football season – and we all know how hard it is to find healthy tailgating recipes, right?  

I love this chili tucked inside a baked potato and topped with a little cheese or sour cream (accidental bonus: it even looks like a football served this way) but it’s also great on top of a hot dog or as the base for some epic sheet pan nachos.

Ingredient Tips for Lentil and Pumpkin Chili

Make sure you use 100% pure canned pumpkin for this recipe — not pumpkin pie filling, which is sweetened and has all sorts of spices in it. If you can’t find it in the baking aisle, look by the dog food. I know that sounds insane, but apparently, that’s where our local Whole Foods keeps it when it isn’t pumpkin pie season. I never would have found it if I didn’t ask!

Lentils are high in protein and iron; pumpkins are rich in vitamin A which boosts your immune system; both provide an excellent source of fiber. Salt can inhibit the cooking process of lentils, so wait until just before serving to add it.

For those who love to cook healthy dinners but don’t always have time for it, this will become a staple recipe!

Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili Recipe #healthy #easy

Recipe Revamp

I first shared this slow cooker lentil and pumpkin chili recipe in October 2012! A few people mentioned to me that it was too spicy, so I retested it and made a few changes that improve the chili’s overall flavor.

First I doubled the traditional chili powder and cut back on the chipotle powder, which is much spicier. I also made the chipotle powder optional, although I do love the spicy, smokey flavor it adds. If you choose to leave it out, I recommend having some Chipotle Tabasco on hand so everyone can customize their bowl. 

I also swapped the water for vegetable broth and increased the amount. This adds more flavor and results in a vegetarian chili that isn’t as thick as my original recipe was. 

Oh, and I took new pictures. Because my photography skills have definitely improved over the years. You can still see the original photos at the end of this post! 

Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili Recipe #healthy #easy
Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili Recipe #healthy #easy

Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili

5 from 2 votes
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Course: Vegetarian Recipes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 232kcal


  • 1 can 15.9 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can 15.9 ounce pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can 15.9 ounce fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can 15.9 ounce pumpkin puree
  • 2. ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup brown lentils dry
  • 1 onion minced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 carrot peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper optional
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  • Combine all ingredients except salt in the slow cooker. Stir well.
  • Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours. Stir in the salt. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili
Amount Per Serving (1 /4 recipe)
Calories 232 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Sodium 1078mg47%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 14g58%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 14g28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyDelish or tag #HealthyDelish!

Here are the original photos that went with this recipe:

Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili 4
Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili 5
Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili 6

Hi, I'm Lauren!

I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. I also blog at The Busy Foodie. Read more...


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31 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Lentil and Pumpkin Chili”

  1. Thank you for responding. I added a few things that tempered the heat some. Overall, it’s a good recipe that I would make again but with less pepper.:-)

  2. Thank you for your recipe. This is in my Crock Pot cooking now. I’m unfamiliar with ground chipolte chili pepper so just used what the recipe called for. I tasted it. It is hot! Should I really have used the tablespoon called for in the recipe? Any ideas how I can temper the heat?

    • Did you taste the pepper itself, or mixed with everything else? It is strong, but should be balanced out by the rest of the ingredients in the recipe. If it’s still too hot for your liking, you can add some extra stock or water to the chili to dilute the spices a little more. The chili is really thick, so it can handle extra liquid without getting too soup.

  3. You really shouldn’t support wasteful products such at the slow-cooker liners. The LAST thing we need to do is make more garbage. Elbow grease people!

  4. I made this on a snow day and it was beyond awesome! Didn’t have the tomatoes with green chilies so I used a can of chopped green chilies and near the end of cooking threw in halved grape tomatoes and a can of corn.
    Served this over baked potatoes with sour cream. I think the texture of lentils help you forget there is no meat in this. It’s definitely hearty and doesn’t seem “vegetarian” to me although I have to confess I used chicken broth instead of the water.

    My husband & I loved this and I put it on file for a definite future repeat. Thank you for the recipe.

  5. You could add just a little low-sodium chicken broth to prevent the breasts drying out.

    The Beanery was the actually the first true forerunner for slow
    cookers. In a lot of cases, the best types of meat to
    make use of in slow cooking are often the less costly cuts because the greater fat content means
    that the meat becomes beautifully tender throughout the duration of cooking.

  6. This looks so delicious! My husband and I are both vegan so this would be perfect for work lunches. Do you think I could cook this on the stove instead of a slow cooker? My slow cooker is too small 🙁

    • Sure! There’s no reason that it can’t be made on stovetop, but you may have to make some adjustments to ensure that the lentils cook. I’d probably cook them separately from everything else and add them in once they’re already soft just to be safe.

  7. I’ve been wanting to make a pumpkin chili, but I knew my husband wouldn’t go for it. This is perfect to take with me to work for lunch! Thanks!

  8. As the weather gets colder, I can definitely use a few more warm, fiber-rich meals like this one to add to my recipe repertoire. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. 1) I have slow cooker liners, but I regularly forget to use them. My slow cooker is black as well and I totally sympathize with your plight. It’s so hard to get clean!

    2) I make chili fairly regularly, but I never think to put it on baked potatoes for some reason. Thanks for the inspiration; definitely doing so soon!


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